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980hp Puritalia Berlinetta set for Geneva

New model picks up where its predecessor left off; adding a roof, some batteries - and 380hp

By Dafydd Wood / Thursday, February 21, 2019

Before we begin, a disclaimer. If you don't want to read about yet another practically unobtainable hyper-EV, look away now. Perhaps this review of the more-conventional McLaren 600LT would be more to your liking, or this V8-powered Morgan in the classifieds. Still with us? Right, onward.

As you'll likely be aware, electrified boutique hypercars are all the rage these days. Be they full EVs or hybrid powered, the likes of Rimac, Pininfarina and Hispano Suiza are all aiming to pick up where the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari left off, offering up ever increasing levels of power and exclusivity for ever wealthier clientele.

On March 7th another name will be added to that list when Puritalia Automobili unveils the Berlinetta. In many ways it conforms to type, boasting a variety of the features which have become commonplace on cars of this echelon. Carbon fibre tub? Check. All carbon fibre body? Check. Aero-grade aluminium subframe? Check. Each car built to spec, perfect 50:50 weight distribution, limited production run? Check, check and check.

Preposterous output? Double check: try a combined power output of 980hp and 920lb ft of torque. Ridiculous attention to detail: well, painting and finishing of the carbon fibre alone takes an unbelievable 800 hours and the model is limited to just 150 examples. There's no word on pricing yet, but if you have to ask...

So far so similar, then, but there are a few things which set the Berlinetta apart. For one, it's petrol V8 resides in front of its occupants, bucking the trend for keeping the batteries low and the engine amidships. That engine is also said to be a part of the brand's own hybrid powertrain, which not only includes "an advanced axial flux electric motor" but also Puritalia's own patented 'Purhydrive' powertrain management technology.

This uses AI-based software to learn the driving style of whoever is behind the wheel and calculate the best way to put the power to the ground for that driver. Even the titanium exhaust uses the system's "smart electronic modulation" alongside active side pipes to optimise its output.

While these darkened teaser shots don't reveal a great deal, they do appear to confirm a link between the Berlinetta and Puritalia's only previous model, the 427 - with the newcomer apparently qualifying as hardtop version of its open-topped predecessor. Inspired by the Shelby Cobra, the 427 was powered solely by a choice of naturally-aspirated or supercharged 5.0-litre V8 mated to a six-speed manual 'box and producing either 440hp or 600hp. Weighing just 1,089kg it was said to be "simplistic" and focussed on driver experience. While the Berlinetta is unlikely to weigh as little, and certainly won't be as pared back, it's creators will likely claim a similar sort of visceral experience in what is fast becoming a crowded corner of a very niche market.

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